• Review: Camino (2016)

    From Mark R. Leeper@21:1/5 to All on Tue Mar 22 12:06:44 2016
    (a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

    CAPSULE: What at first appears to be a film making a
    serious political statement gives up the effort and
    becomes a standard jungle action movie. It is not
    really bad for a chase in the jungle movie. It just
    fails to do much unexpected. Rating: high 0 (-4 to +4)
    or 5/10

    CAMINO begins as if it is going to be making a serious political
    statement about international politics and Europe and America's
    possible complicity in South American troubles. One can follow the
    story with the best of expectations, but at the halfway point of
    the film it turns into an action film with less interest in making
    a statement than in being a one-dimensional and gory action film.

    One clue might have been that the main character is played by
    stuntwoman and actress Zoe Bell. She is not known for statement
    films other than those making the statement that men do not have a
    monopoly on action roles. Incidentally, apparently Bell is popular
    with Quentin Tarantino as she has been in an incredible eleven of
    his films. You know for sure that this film is not even trying to
    be serious when you have women on the run from a war criminal who
    commits atrocities and somehow they find the time to argue over
    whom he loves. In spite of the film's more ridiculous moments,
    Bell adds some stability to the narrative.

    Bell plays Avery Taggart, a prize-winning international photo-
    journalist. She is given the assignment of covering a missionary
    leader fighting in Colombia for liberation. Sadly once she gets to
    Colombia the plot gets rather transparent. Of course the trailer
    makes the upcoming plot just as obvious. The script seems
    underwritten and is a rush job, reportedly written in just two
    days. While the film seems to want to deliver a message, when it
    finally comes out it is that one very-fast-healing woman
    photojournalist can out-think and out-fight a band of atrocity-
    committing men from the liberation forces. Nacho Vigalondo plays
    the guerilla leader Guillermo. He somewhat over-powers his role,
    but that may really be a necessary part of Bell's motivation.
    Taggert goes from one fight to another spilling a lot of red-orange
    blood and then quickly recovering on the run. None of this is
    Bell's fault and she certainly stands out as the best thing in the

    Josh C. Waller directs from a script by Daniel Noah. The chase in
    the screenplay seems to have been cobbled together from used parts
    available from better (and worse) films. The film is neither as
    serious nor as entertaining as it was trying to be. The road in
    CAMINO is one well-traveled. I rate it a high 0 on the -4 to +4 scale
    or 5/10. CAMINO is on VOD and iTunes as of March 8, 2016.

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    Mark R. Leeper
    Copyright 2016 Mark R. Leeper

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  • From David N. Butterworth@21:1/5 to All on Sun Mar 6 11:38:55 2016
    CAMINO (2016)
    A film review by David N. Butterworth
    Copyright 2016 David N. Butterworth

    ** (out of ****)

    "Sorry. I'm not that good at this kind of thing," claims photojournalist
    Avery Taggert, accepting a prestigious plaque in the opening minutes of "Camino." Giving speeches, she means, thrust under the spotlight. She'd
    much rather be scrabbling about in the undergrowth working her magic,
    snapping away.
    Critics bent on slamming Zoe Bell, who plays Avery, could easily argue that the stuntwoman-first, actress-second isn't that good at this kind of
    thing either, that one doesn't send a stuntwoman into the rainforest to do
    an actor's job. But they'd be missing the fact that this kind of thing
    mostly amounts to Bell being slapped around in the wilds of Colombia; she's certainly well versed at taking a punch in the ribs, or a boot to the face.
    In that regard, this Noah/Waller picture is neither taxing nor
    terribly potent.
    Bell, who hails from New Zealand, is perhaps best known for playing herself in Quentin Tarantino's "Death Proof," in which she spent most of
    her screen time strapped to the hood of a 1970 Dodge Challenger as it
    careened through the Texas countryside. She actually has more credits for acting than stunt work, although she's rather blase' with that umlaut.
    After accepting her Photojournalist of the Year award, "Camino"'s wily protagonist is courted (by Kevin Pollak) to accompany a squad of shady missionaries led by a charismatic Spaniard known as El Guero (Nacho
    Vigalondo, a little hammy for my tastes) into the jungles of South
    America. There she captures an atrocity on film that puts her life in danger--cue running and jumping and bloody fisticuffs. While no Meryl
    Streep (and to be fair, Streep never doubled for Lucy Lawless in a "Xena"
    fight scene), Bell exudes a confident charisma. That scalene nose of hers certainly helps. The film is also assisted by a throbbing electronic score
    by Kreng, some deft and colorful transitions, and striking images courtesy still photographer Zoriah Miller that serve as Avery's impressive portfolio.
    As for the Camino of the title, Avery drives a bright blue model in a delightful scene. She smiles wryly, the sun streaming in through the
    windows, highlighting her killer profile. I guess "Camino" sounded more romantically Latin than Vanagon.

    David N. Butterworth

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